The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.
TIMMINS – The sale of Ontario Northland Transportation Commission is no longer a sure thing for the provincial Liberals. The party, which announced in March 2012 plans to divest the ONTC of its assets, has softened its position on the proposed sale.
“On the surface, it’s better than what we had in the past which was a fist in the face,” said Cochrane Mayor Peter Politis, who is also the Progressive Conservative candidate for Temiskaming-Cochrane. However, Politis remains sceptical.
“Where I’m a little fatigued as a mayor is listening to the government drop a few seeds of hope” and then proceeding to disappoint Northerners, said Politis. “If the party in power was serious about other options, why haven’t they stopped the divestment process while we explore these other options?
“They haven’t changed anything … Bids are still being accepted and analyzed. Sure the discussion is more cordial but the facts concerning divestment of the ONTC remain the same.” Politis told The Daily Press he has told the PC leadership, “As an elected member, I would push to stop the divestment of the ONTC immediately.”
However, MPP Gilles Bisson (NDP – Timmins-James Bay) suggested the Tories are more committed to forcing an election they think they can win, than trying to derail the sale of the ONTC.
“This is the part that I think is a bit galling: You have the Tories out there saying the only option is to have an election and if we have an election then everything will be fine,” said Bisson. “Well, that’s their political self-interest talking. They think they can form government.
“Anybody who thinks the government run by the Tories wouldn’t try to privatize the ONTC, I’ve got swamp somewhere to sell you. They’re in favour of privatization, they tried to do it before.”
The New Democrats are not alone in saying the Conservatives are playing two-faced politics on the issue of the ONTC. A Northern Liberal cabinet member suggested the same thing during Question Period in the Ontario Legislature earlier this week.
MPP Vic Fedeli (PC – Nipissing) was questioning the government about a Ministry of Finance document that showed the cost to taxpayers if the ONTC was sold.
“Instead of saving the government $265 million, which is in the budget, the sale will actually cost $790 million,” Fedeli told the legislature. “Premier, you already know you’re not going through with this sale. That would create your next billion-dollar scandal. So I’m asking you today, will you please stand up before we break for the summer and tell the people of Northern Ontario that the sale is off and let these people get on with their lives.”
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